Glossary of Rowing Terms


Another term for oars.

Bow (front of the boat)

The first part of the boat to cross the finish line. The person in the seat closest to the bow, who crosses the finish line first.

Bow coxed boat

A shell in which the coxswain is near the bow instead of the stern. It s hard to see the coxswain in this type of boat, because only his head is visible. Having the coxswain virtually lying down in the bow reduces wind resistance, and the weight distribution is better.

Catch a crab

When the oar is caught in the water the boat will lurch and could possibly injure or eject the rower from the shell


The plastic ring part way down the shaft of the oar that provides the fulcrum in conjunction with the oarlock.


The person who steers the boat, gives the commands to the crew and is the on-the-water coach for the crew.


The part of the shell at the bow and stern that is covered with fiberglass cloth or a thin plastic


Rowers call it an "erg." It s a rowing machine that closely approximates the actual rowing motion. The rowers choice is the Concept II, which utilizes a flywheel and a digital readout so that the rower can measure his "strokes per minute" and the distance covered.


rotating the blade to be parallel with the water to avoid wind resistance and provide a smoother and faster stroke


A short piece of metal toward the stern of the boat on the bottom of the hull. This helps to keep the boat moving in a straight line.

Foot stretcher

Where the rowers feet go. The stretcher consists of two inclined footrests that hold the rowers shoes. The rower’s shoes are bolted into the footrests.


The bar across the oarlock that keeps the oar in place.


Located about the boat’s hull, rowers sit between the gunwales and the riggers are attached here. One of the main purposes of the gunwales is to keep water out of the shell in rough conditions.


Refers to the rowers, not the boats; there is a maximum weight for each rower in a lightweight event as well as a boat average.


Used to drive the boat forward: rowers do not use paddles.


Holds the oar and acts as a swivel during the drive and recovery.


This is the right side of the boat if you are rowing (on the left side of the boat for the cox).

Power 10

A call for rowers to do 10 of their best, most powerful strokes. It s a strategy used to pull ahead of a competitor.


The metal support that holds the oar. This is adjustable to make the participant more comfortable.


This can be located in the very stern of the boat or attached to the fin. It is used to steer the boat.


The run is the distance the shell moves during one stroke. You can figure it by looking for the distance between the puddles made by the same oar.


One of the two disciplines of rowing the one where scullers use two oars or sculls.


this is when the boat is in balance with all oars raised out of water. "The boat is set" 


The long “stick” part of the oar.


Can be used interchangeably with boat.


The two metal tracks that the seat slides on.


The large flat part of the oar which is in the water during the stroke.


Right side of the boat, while facing forward, in the direction of movement.

Stern (back of the boat)

This is usually where the coxswain sits and is where the rudder is.


The rower who sits closest to the stern. The stroke sets the rhythm for the boat; others behind him must follow his cadence.


One of the two disciplines of rowing - the one where rowers use only one oar. Pairs (for two people), fours (for four people), and eights (for eight people), are sweep boats. Pairs and fours may or may not have a coxswain. Eights always have a coxswain.


The hard-to-define feeling when near-perfect synchronization of motion occurs in the shell, enhancing the performance and speed.


Compression shorts designed for use for Rowers in the boat. Rhymes with "now". Protective covering for rowers - this material is thicker than the normal "spandex" style designed to keep your core warm while you row.


One-piece racing suits. Short for unisuit